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Alimony and Maintenance Basics

Posted on in Spousal Maintenance

DuPage County maintenance and alimony attorneys, alimony and maintenanceWhen a couple divorces, sometimes one spouse is ordered to pay the other spouse maintenance. Maintenance used to be called alimony and is generally paid from the higher earning spouse to the lower earning spouse. Maintenance can be ordered by a judge or a couple can agree on it. There are several types of spousal maintenance and different circumstances that apply when determining whether maintenance will be paid, how much, and for what period of time. Therefore, if you are seeking maintenance after a divorce, then it is imperative to understand the specifics of this process and to enlist the help of a skilled family law attorney.

Kinds of Spousal Maintenance

Different types of spousal support can be ordered depending on the situation and include the following:

  • Temporary Maintenance – Temporary maintenance is generally ordered during the process of separation and will end when a divorce is final. The purpose of this kind of maintenance is to give the lower earning spouse assistance during the divorce process before the assets are split between the parties. Couples can decide otherwise, but temporary maintenance typically ends with the divorce being finalized and assets are split.
  • Rehabilitative Maintenance – Rehabilitative maintenance is provided when the higher earning spouse pays maintenance to a lower earning spouse for a period of time after the divorce to allow him or her to get on his or her feet and become self-sufficient. For example, if one spouse has stayed home to raise the children while the other spouse works, after the divorce the higher earning spouse may pay maintenance for a few years to allow the previously unemployed spouse to get the education and training he or she needs to obtain employment.
  • Permanent Maintenance - Permanent maintenance is a rare occurrence. Permanent maintenance will almost always be a situation where one spouse is unable to become self-sufficient due to age or disability. This kind of maintenance will also usually only be granted after a very lengthy marriage. 

Factors that Affect Amount and Duration of Maintenance and Alimony 

There are several factors that the court will take into account to decide whether and how much maintenance will be paid. Generally, courts are moving away from awarding maintenance. As the number of two-income families has been rising, courts have found less of a need to order long-term spousal support. Further, the court wants to encourage self-sufficiency and end the obligations of the parties to each other after the divorce. That said, the court will order maintenance if it thinks proper based on circumstances including:

  • The length of the marriage;
  • Both spouses’ income;
  • The financial needs of each party;
  • Present and future earning ability;
  • Age and health of the parties;
  • The options available for a spouse to become employable; and
  • Tax consequences; and
  • Anything else the court thinks is fair.

Contact Us for Assistance 

The circumstances that affect an order of spousal maintenance are extremely fact specific and the above information only provides an overview. To fully understand the options available to you, please contact a knowledgeable maintenance and alimony attorney. The skilled DuPage County maintenance and alimony attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC can help to advise you on your rights and responsibilities as it relates to spousal maintenance.




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